The Spectacle Blog

Reports: CBO Pegs Cost of Dem HC Bill at $940 Billion

By on 3.18.10 | 9:47AM

The details of the Congressional Budget Office estimates are starting to leak. While we don't have the full numbers yet, Talking Points Memo reports, citing a Democratic source, that the price tag will be $940 billion from 2010 through 2019 -- with $130 billion in deficit reduction during that period.

Since we don't have the actual score yet, we don't know which gimmicks Democrats employed to get the number they wanted. As we know, the CBO scores kept getting delayed so that Democrats could tweak the bill to meet their targets. We can only assume that they employed many of the same tactics as in earlier versions of the legislation, such as delaying the major spending provisions until 2014, thus disguising the true 10 year cost once fully implemented.

From a policy perspective, the big question is where all the new money came from. Based on what we know from prior CBO data, delaying the "Cadillac Tax" until 2018 -- as President Obama proposed -- would represent a revenue loss of $85 billion (see chart on page 9 of this PDF). If the bill also costs $65 billion more than the Senate version and deficit reduction is roughly constant, it means that Democrats needed to find $150 billion from somewhere. What combination of spending cuts, or more likely, tax increases, did they use to get there?

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